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Displaying items by tag: soccer
SCHUYLERVILLE — Senior athlete Cassandra Cooper balances school, giving back to the community and her great love of soccer.
Cooper began playing recreational soccer when she was in the second grade with the Old Saratoga Athletic Association (OSSA). Many of her friends played, and she saw this as an opportunity to expand her social life. Pretty quickly soccer became her favorite sport, and an activity that she dedicates a majority of her time to.
“I love competing against people. I love the adrenaline from playing against other people. And scoring, I love scoring,” said Cooper. “It’s just so much fun getting out there and doing something that you’re passionate about. It’s always been something I just loved.”
All year around Cooper can be seen on a soccer field, whether she is playing, or on the sidelines. She is the Schuylerville Varsity left outside midfielder and co-captain. Additionally, she is on three soccer clubs including the Schuylerville Soccer Club, Saratoga Wilton Soccer Club and New York Elite Soccer Club and coaches third and fourth graders for the OSSA. Through dedication and discipline, Cooper manages to balance her athletic life, and be active in school through being a member of the National Honor Society, Varsity Club, and the Students Against Destructive Decisions club (SAAD).
“I keep a very tight schedule. I’m always on the go. I try to find some down time but there’s not really a lot of time I have to just be to myself. I usually try to find 30 minutes to just relax,” said Cooper.
Throughout her soccer career Cooper has had a consistent supporter, who she names as the biggest fan of her varsity team and one of her biggest inspirations (alongside USA midfielder Alex Morgan) her father, Shane Cooper.
“He’s also been a major reason why I started playing soccer...he’s always pushed me to strive to be better, to work at being better,” said Cooper.
Cooper recalls when she was in the fifth grade and was struggling to achieve her goals in soccer, that her father would spend 45 minutes to an hour practicing with her outside nearly every day for months when he would get home from work.
“He helped me get better at playing the sport and he helped me find the love for it to. He’s always been so dedicated to watching me and going to my games,” said Cooper.
Cooper is looking into colleges throughout the capital region, and wherever she lands, a soccer ball is surely to be close beside her.
Going into the game against Gloversville, Coach Paul Rogan was prepared to take on the challenging team.
“Gloversville is a tough team. They, unfortunately, have had to deal with a couple of injuries, which I think was tough for them. But we were obviously hopeful to get the victory,” said Coach Rogan.
The black horses were off to a strong start as Cassandra Cooper scored the first goal at minute 6:22.
The game maintained a consistent back and forth drive up and down the field. By the last minute of the first half, both teams aggressively hustled through quick plays as two balls went out of bounds. By the end of the first half, the score remained 1 - 0, Schuylerville in the lead.
“They fought hard. We’re a little tired right now cause we’re in a string of a game every other day. Our legs were a little tired, but I think Gloversville is a little tired as well, and our kids competed hard given the circumstances.”
The final goal in the last five minutes of the game was a penalty kick by midfielder Brooke Keefer whose growth as a player has become a notable team asset.
“Overall the team is really coming together, so I’m excited for us coming into sectionals,” said Coach Rogan.
The Black Horses' next game will be Friday, October 11 at Johnstown at 4:30 p.m.
BALLSTON SPA — Sarah Rule, senior offensive player of the Ballston Spa varsity girls soccer team focuses on driving team unity, inclusivity, and motivation for her teammates.
Rule was only three years old when she first played soccer, following in the footsteps of her older sister.
“I watched her play as a young child. I learned that that was what I wanted to do,” said Rule. “I wanted to play this sport and I loved having a ball at my feet and I think that watching her was my biggest influence.”
Before making the varsity soccer team at Ballston Spa High School, Rule began playing on a club team, and 13 years later, she continues to play for the Ballston Spa Strikers.
While Rule was inspired to start playing soccer from watching her older sister, the current World Cup Champion team – the U.S. Women’s National team, is what Rule says is a prime example of an excellent team dynamic she aspires to have with her teams.
“I think that the best thing about soccer is the ability to bond with my team,” said Rule. “Our club team - the team that I started out on was the team that I’ve been with for 13 years so, having them with me my whole entire life, being able to see them every day after school and just motivating each other and getting to know one another and keeping that team chemistry for 13 years is something that keeps me going for sure.”
From soccer parents to her fellow teammates, Rule is described as a reliable teammate and someone who is always willing to make her teammates, coaches and their family members feel included and supportive both on and off the field.
During pre-season, each player on the girls’ varsity soccer team is required to run the mile in seven minutes or less. This task was a challenge for Rule her first year. Since then, Rule assures that she will accompany any of her teammates who are still running during this pre-season task after she completes her mile.
Early into her senior year, Rule’s plans are up in the air. But she is hopeful to attend college and continue to play sports at a collegiate level.
BALLSTON SPA – A season that kicked off with the largest attendance for tryouts, and four players injured, Coach Brian Retersdorf is confident this self – driven group of athletes will achieve great success this upcoming season.
This is Coach Retersdorf’s ninth season coaching soccer at the school, and with each year he notices the team grows whether it be in participation or skill. This year’s team has 16 seniors, a majority of whom were players in preceding years.
"Last year we made it to the semifinals in sectionals. I would like to see a sectional final game and honestly, I would like to have a sectional final win,” said Coach Retersdorf. “We were one-off from being the Grey Division Suburban council leaders."
The Scotties are making their way through the season currently with a 4 – 2 League standing and a 6 – 2 overall standing.
With ambitious goals for the upcoming season with two starting players out for the season, one would think that would create some worry, but Coach Retersdorf believes that this group of athletes is adaptable and can power through a less than ideal circumstance.
“What's been amazing about this group of girls is that they all step up. And with the amount of depth and talent that they have - yes we miss those girls and yes those girls play a critical role to our program…I think yes, it's a big loss but we have such an amazing group of girls that we can make up for it."
Coach Retersdorf is sure to stress each year at tryouts that school comes first. The girls are keeping up with their high standards off the field as well. Each year Coach Retersdorf’s team has made the Scholar – All – Athlete Program and received recognitions for their academic achievement.
The support he and the team receive from the community, the administration and family, are part of what coach Retersdorf attributes his team’s fortunate success to. But alongside that, he states that his athletes are the driving force of the direction the team is going.
“I think that one of our biggest team successes is how the girls interact with each other on and off the field, and I think their team chemistry is one of our biggest strengths. Especially with our team captains,” said Coach Retersdorf. “And that I think is why we've had such success early on, and why I think we will continue to have success throughout the season.”
The girls take on Saratoga Springs at home Tuesday, October 1.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Catholic’s varsity athlete Lauren Maher is a year-round athlete who reminds us that the adrenaline rush of a sport is nothing without the sense of community that athletics generate.
Photos by SuperSource Media, LLC
BALLSTON SPA — Garry Preece has been coaching the Ballston Spa Scotties varsity soccer team for ten years and this is the first year in a while that he’s had a young and talented team.
"I have a very young, actually talented, soccer team. Which I haven't had that in the past. I have a lot of soccer players. Usually it's a variety of athletes and soccer players but this year it's soccer players. It's a very young team with eight or nine tenth graders,” he explained.
He still has seven seniors, after having several players graduate last year.
“It's not a total clear-out. It's balanced by all of the grade levels,” he said.
His star player?
“Mikey Robyck, he’s a junior. He's good on the ball, has great speed, and distributes well,” Preece complimented.
Representing the under-dogs is Ethan Cook.
"He's a 10th grader, he probably grew a foot. Tremendous, very skilled. He wins every ball and brings it down out of the air. Great pick up,” Preece said.
Preece’s goalie was injured in the Niskayuna game.
"He's phenomenal but I don't really have a back-up goalie but he's back. We were tight with Niskayuna but once he went down they pummeled us the rest of the game. We were in trouble,” Preece said.
Last year, the Scotties lost in the first round of Sectionals. Their goal this year?
“We're in the As this year so the goal is to win sectionals,” he said.
"I've been coaching for 10 years. I don't really look at teams as rivals. If you win Sectionals, everyone supports you. So, I don't really feel like it's that kind of conference where there are big rivals. I feel like it's more of a 'hey we're going to play each other and whoever wins, afterwards we're going to shake hands and it's good luck in the next game,’” Preece stated.
For upcoming games, check out our Sports at a Glance page.
[Photo by Corbin Olsen]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Coach Jeff Geller has been the boys varsity soccer coach at Saratoga Springs High School since 2001. Geller has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. He has played everything from travel soccer, being fortunate enough to travel the USA and Europe, high school soccer, and collegiately at Siena College.
“Soccer is an amazing game because it takes an amazing amount of both technical skill and tactical awareness to be successful. While it’s great to be big, fast, and strong, it’s more important to have a great touch on the ball and make positive decisions quickly. While many people consider soccer ‘boring’ due to the low score-lines, I find the hundreds of ‘mini-battles’ within the game to be very exciting,” Geller explained.
The captains of this year’s team were Simon Smith, Conor Murphy, and Aidan O’Malley. Simon Smith, Aidan Rice, and Evan Farr also made first team Suburban Council; Conor Murphy made second team Suburban Council, and Aidan O’Malley made third team Suburban Council.
This season as a whole was described as “great” due to the fact that the team have spent numerous years playing club soccer and preparing themselves for this season.
Geller had nothing but positive things to say about his players and coaching staff.
“In the attack, Aidan Rice was a crafty forward to the ball, Eren Kilic was always a threat with his tough play, and Luke Clark was strong using his physical presence to keep the ball. Our midfield trip of Aidan O’Malley, Simon Smith and Evan Farr worked well together to possess the ball and find ways to advance the ball forward when it presented itself. We had a stellar defensive group this year with Conor Murphy, Jon Irons, Ryan Postlethwait, and Ben Leombruno giving 100% every match to keep the ball out of the Blue Streaks net. Goalkeeper Alex Henderson often had little to do in the back due to the strong defense but would often come up huge when called upon. The player who impressed the coaching staff tremendously this year was TJ Bradley, perhaps one of the fastest players in Section II, who would come out of nowhere to save the day for us in the back with his blazing speed,” Geller commended.
On the field, the team is described as a “well-oiled machine,” and off the field, the boys are known to be excellent students and very respectful young adults.
The team won the Suburban Council Championship with a record of 12-1-2, with a tie in the first round of Sectionals. They defeated La Salle in the quarterfinals and tied CBA in the semi-finals. After regulation and two overtime periods, the Blue Streaks lost 4-3 in penalty kicks that would decide who would advance to the Sectional Championship game.
“It was a heartbreaking way to end the season but we had our chances during the match to win in regulation but were unable to convert. Our final overall record was 13-1-3,” Geller said.
“Our goal is always to fight for a Suburban Council Championship and hopefully win a Section II title. We have been to the Section II semifinals the past three seasons, something no other team in the Suburban Council has accomplished. We have a huge core of juniors and sophomores returning next season so we will strive to replicate this season’s accomplishments or perhaps make it even further. If the boys continue to work hard in the off-season and come back next season ready to compete, I look forward to great things. It was a pleasure to coach this group of fine, young, student-athletes” Geller stated.
WILTON – Soccer teams from across the Northeast came together at Gavin Park in Wilton and at the Saratoga Youth Lacrosse Association fields on the PBA Range property this past weekend to put on a show for around 160 college coaches at the 15th Annual Mad Dog Mania Showcase Tournament. The aim of the tournament was to provide high school soccer teams a venue at which to demonstrate their talents in the hopes of being recruited for a college team. At this year’s tournament, 131 teams from eight states competed, and while the number of individual players was not counted, tournament director Nancy Stangle estimated that there must have been over 1,800 players.
The event drew in teams from all around the Northeast, including 15 local teams and some from as far as Maine. According to Stangle, most of the teams at the event were from schools in the 3-4-hours-away range. Coaches in attendance came from all across New York State and beyond. Stangle said that most every local college was represented, including Skidmore, Union College, Siena, the College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Albany, and according the Mad Dog organization’s official website, coaches from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania made it to the event.
While the organization has never tracked the rate at which players from its tournaments successfully get recruited, Stangle cited anecdotal evidence from friends and families of players over the years to say that a good number of them are successful thanks to the tournament. A press release from Mad Dog Mania also cited an unnamed college coach in attendance at this year’s event as saying that they had targeted around 30 players as worthy of further consideration.
In that same press release, Mad Dog Mania also touted the economic benefits of their annual tournament. According to them, approximately 4,500 individuals journey to the tournament each year, resulting in around 1,000 hotel rooms being booked, with many participants partaking in local shops and restaurants.
“Numerous participants and spectators have said that they plan to return to this area for personal visits,” the release from Mad Dog Mania stated. “After attending the soccer tournament and seeing all that the region offers.”
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SCHUYLERVILLE — The Lady Horses trampled Glens Falls on Wednesday, September 21 with a score of 13-0. Nine Schuylerville players tallied goals, including firsts of the season for Alexa Goldenberg (2), Emma Delaney (2; First Varsity or JV goals, ever); and Ashley Flynn (First Varsity goal). Maddy Nevins had 2 goals and 4 assists. Glens Falls Goalkeeper, Makayla Bennett, a recent JV call-up, played courageously, making 22 saves.
Schuylerville coach Mike Kopp said, “Our team is having an excellent start, currently in first place in the Foot Hills Council. State rankings just came out and we’re ranking 15th for the entire NYS for class B. I’m excited for this year. We brought a lot of our kids back from last year, a lot of experience coming back, and the new faces are fitting in seamlessly – it’s been a dream season so far.”
Co-captains Maddy Nevins and Amy Moreau lead the team. “They are top players,” said Kopp, “unselfish, really all about the team.” Junior Emily Vallee leads the team scoring, and freshman Cassandra Cooper leads the team with assists.
Before the game, Kopp said the team had only surrendered one goal in the last 420 minutes of play, over five games. “Pretty incredible stuff,” he said. “I am supremely proud. These kids are honors students, they volunteer, it’s great parenting. It’s a good time to be a coach for Schuylerville soccer, I can tell you that.”
Kickin' Out Cancer
The Schuylerville girls soccer team will also lead the charge for the fourth annual Kickin' Out Cancer fundraiser at a game vs Johnstown scheduled for Monday, September 26, 7 p.m. Monetary donations will be collected and pink balloons can be purchased for the inspirational halftime walk around the track. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
B-Spa Boys Soccer
Tuesday afternoon September 20, Ballston Spa hosted Shenendehowa. It was a big match for both teams as it was televised by TWC sports and created a lot of hype. Shen dominated most of the possession and found their midfielders and the strikers well throughout the game. Ballston Spa looked to play long balls to the wings and beat the outside backs with their speed. The game went scoreless throughout both halves. Shen's Nick Evans scored from Derek Nolan to give Shen the victory in OT. Both teams fought very hard.